The Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) is a vital corridor which provides access to and from John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in Queens, NY. JFK is the busiest international air passenger gateway into North America, the 21st-busiest airport in the world, the sixth-busiest airport in the United States, and the busiest airport in the New York airport system, having handled just over 61 million passengers according to the most recent data. The Van Wyck Expressway also serves as the major route for commercial truck traffic to access the airport, with trucks accounting for eight percent of the morning peak volume and five percent of the evening peak volume on I-678.
New York State Department of Transportation is implementing a $1.22 billion design/build project to widen the Van Wyck Expressway. The purpose of the project is to provide increased vehicular capacity on the VWE between the Kew Gardens Interchange and JFK Airport to improve vehicular access to and from the airport. In addition, the project will address operational, geometric, and structural deficiencies on the VWE between the Kew Gardens Interchange and JFK Airport.
The VWE corridor that will be affected by this project is approximately 4 miles in length and impacts not only the main line but also the northbound and southbound service roads. A major component of this project is the development of an additional fourth lane that will function as a Managed Use Lane (MUL). The MUL will accommodate commercial and high occupancy vehicles.
The project is complicated by the limited available right-of-way and the presence of the AirTrain located in the center median for most of the project corridor which transports commuters from the LIRR Jamaica Station to JFK Airport. Much of the VWE in this section is also depressed with tall retaining walls on either side supporting the service roads and buildings above.
There are twenty-two (22) bridges along this corridor that will be impacted by the MUL and other infrastructure improvements, . One of these structures is a major railroad bridge west of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Jamaica Station which carries trains into Manhattan. Each of the impacted structures will either be modified, rehabilitated, or replaced to facilitate the project. An additional bridge will also be constructed.
Hayduk Engineering, LLC worked as a subconsultant to WSP, who was responsible for completing the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements for the project (DEIS/FEIS). The DEIS and FEIS deliverables incorporated preliminary design plans prepared to 30% complete.
Our scope of services on this assignment included the development of a feasibility study to evaluate alternatives to build either a flyover bridge or tunnel at the LIRR Jamaica Station structure for the proposed Managed Use Lanes. In addition, we performed preliminary engineering for the design of all southbound service road improvements, stormwater modeling of existing and proposed conditions using HydroCAD, engineering design of additional drainage structures on the VWE mainline, engineering design for the replacement of all overhead sign structures along the VWE mainline and cost estimating services. The FEIS was completed in August 2019 and the design-build contract procurement began in August 2019 with a contract award anticipated for early 2020.